5 things to do when they don’t know what they want to do


Young man looking at job postings board

Do you keep asking Johnny what he wants to do with his life? Does he answer you with “YouTube star?” You’re not alone. Here are 5 ways you can help position your child to start thinking about their future.

Make a list of everything they might want to do or not want to do together

What are their interests? What are they really good at? What classes do they enjoy the most? Which ones do they hate? Does blood make them squirm? Are they great with people? What do they see themselves doing in 10 years? Or even 15 years? These are all very important questions to ask themselves.  It’s important to find what will make them happy and what they will enjoy doing years from now.

Do an interest inventory

With a google search of interest inventory, they will find some great information and tests they can take.  One is mynextmove.org. You can do career searches and browse careers by industry or even answer questions about the type of work they might enjoy.  It also will suggest careers that match their interests and training. By doing a simple search it can give them information on what skills would be helpful, the education they would need, the best personalities for the jobs and even job outlook. In addition encourage your child to take a few personality tests online. We’re not talking about “what TV character am I?” but the Myers-Briggs, Disc Assessment and Winslow Profile are great places to start.

Job shadowing

Job shadowing is an excellent form of job training.  It allows a student, employee, or intern to gain comprehensive knowledge about what an employee who holds a particular job does every day. When they’re not sure what to do, job shadowing is a great option. Find places they think they’d like to work at and see if they can tour the business and meet with employees.  It will give them insights to what a day in the life of (insert career name) is. Sometimes what we think a job is like is much different than the reality. Doing this one thing might save them heartache and you a lot of money.

Explore O*NET

Another great tool is, www.onetonline.org.  This website has detailed job descriptions of the world of work for use by job seekers, workforce development, HR professionals, students, researchers and much more. On top of that, you can find out which careers are expected to grow rapidly in the next several years, or will have large numbers of job openings.

If higher education is necessary, find a college that has that degree

Once they find a career they would like, the next step is seeing if a degree is necessary.  From there find a college that specializes in the degree needed.  You and your child should think about what they want now verses what they want most in regards to life after college. Be thoughtful when considering tuition rates and how student debt will impact the life they want after they receive a degree.